< meta charset="UTF-8"> Haibun Today: A Haibun & Tanka Prose Journal

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 4, December 2019

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Lew Watts
Chicago, Illinois, USA

Mwg Hallt

Dole check split this Thursday afternoon, we ride through sullen streets of spiteful curtains shadowed by the vast St. Alban's church, gag our way past East Moors steel-works before we reach the Queen’s Dock. There, dark-flagged freighters lurk and load. Outside the dock gates a rocky draw rims the aber flats, the sea-sheened mud picked clean by gulls, save for the glint of glo spilled from laden cargo hulls or slurried out the sluices. Ankle deep in seeping ooze, I hold the sack while Dad lifts lump after lump until the sisal weeps. His bike creaks with the weight as we walk home slowly, resting below a bridge until dusk so that prying neighbors can never be sure—perhaps a sack of someone’s kittens for the flush, or fish for the kitchen. We drag in the sack, stack it with the other black sacks drying across the hearth, and place a slab of glo upon the fire to hiss and squeal until its heart gives out. Above our terraced house, the mwg hallt of shame hushes into the night, visible only to God and my mother.

no time to bathe
I earn an extra swing
of the thurible

Note: Welsh to English:
mwg hallt – salty smoke
aber – estuary
glo – coal